There are very few film series with soundtracks that can do what The Rise of Skywalker does. John Williams has now built up such an expansive list of familiar themes, that it takes just one note to anticipate which one is coming next. Whether it be Leia’s, Rey’s, or Emperor Palpatine’s himself, The Rise of Skywalker is loaded with music you already hold deep in your heart.
Let us all be grateful that John Williams scored the complete nine-movie saga. If inconsistent writers and directors make the series as a whole a bumpy ride, then John Williams’ steady hand is the glue that holds it all together. Something like the movie itself, the soundtrack to The Rise of Skywalker attempts to conclude more than just a trilogy, but the Skywalker Saga. In the liner notes, Williams says that he hopes the nine movie scores will be seen as a “singular, organic whole”. Because of his consistent but always evolving vision, this is exactly what has happened. The Rise of Skywalker is the finale.
Rey’s theme, as heard in “The Force is With You”, stands out as the strongest of the sequel trilogy. What is interesting about that is how different it is from previous Star Wars motifs. It is light and delicate, but part of the new universe. It is difficult not to get emotional when you hear everything coming together in the end. There are surprises and an ample number of weighty moments. Of course, there are also new things to enjoy, and old things put together in new ways.
I like that the people who designed the packaging avoided the boneheaded spoilers of the past by putting the track listing inside. It’s unfortunate this final trilogy had the most boring cover art of the entire saga, but be forewarned: a deluxe Rise of Skywalker soundtrack has been announced for March. We can hope for a better sleeve on that edition.
John Williams has been an integral part of Star Wars since the beginning, and this time he was rewarded with [SPOILER] his very first cameo on screen. The circle is truly now complete. This thoroughly enjoyable score should be universally beloved even if the film is not.